How to perform a literature search

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Birch DW, Eady A, Robertson D, De Pauw S, Tandan V, Evidence-Based Surgery Working Group. Users' guide to the surgical literature: how to perform a literature search. Can J Surg 2003;46(2):136-41.


Surgeons are instrumental in providing appropriate, cost-effective health care. This responsibility implies that we must try to maintain a standard of care that is consistent with the best available evidence. To pursue an evidence-based approach to surgical care, a surgeon must be able to review relevant articles from the literature in an efficient manner. Therefore, the contemporary surgeon must have a simple mechanism for carrying out a complete literature search. Other publications in this evidence-based surgery series have described how to review various articles from the surgical literature. In this paper, we provide the surgeon with guidelines for searching the literature and a template for constructing an effective search strategy.

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